Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will visit the rubble-filled Haitian capital Port-au-Prince today as part of their effort to raise money for, and stimulate investment in, the country’s rebuilding. The January quake left an estimated 230,000 dead, and another 1.3 million homeless. Photojournalist Bear Guerra recently went to Haiti to document the efforts of Haitians to put their lives back together, and get back to some sense of normalcy. Guerra spoke with us about his trip, and sent us this set of pictures.
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DAVID BARON: President Obama may have failed to bring Democrats and Republicans together on health care, but his bipartisan approach to Haiti has been more successful. Mr. Obama asked former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to lead the U.S. fundraising effort to help Haiti recover from the January earthquake. That effort has raised some $37 million so far. Today Presidents Bush and Clinton toured the devastated capital of Port au Prince. Mr. Bush said the visit was meant to remind the American people that there is still suffering and work to be done in Haiti. Photographer Bear Guerra can attest to that. He just returned from Haiti himself.
BEAR GUERRA: I was amazed to find so many people just going about their lives and back in the streets. That really struck me the first day, first couple days I was there. But then I quickly realized that underneath that almost everyone that I talked to on the streets either lost family members, lost their home, they are now living in one of the “refugee camps”. Most people were complaining of not having enough food, not having enough water, those kind of things.
BARON: We’ve posted Bear Guerra’s photographs from Haiti at the world dot org. Guerra says one of the most moving images shows a mother’s weather hand. A fragment of an old photograph is in the middle of her palm.
GUERRA: She has six children and lost three of them in the earthquake. So this tiny, little piece of a photo in her hand is the only remembrance she has of her oldest son. She had nothing else, no other picture to remember this son by and it was tremendously sad for me.
BARON: But Guerra says other pictures he took convey a sense of hope and resilience among Haitians. Again, you can see Bear Guerra’s photographs from Haiti at our website. That’s also the place to read reporter Amy Bracken’s blog postings from Port au Prince. It’s all at the world dot org.
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